A Fo­cus on Well­be­ing:

Build­ing Skills to Pre­vent Bul­ly­ing Be­hav­iours

The Australian Education Reporter - - GREAT LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS -

All schools face chal­lenges with stu­dent be­hav­iours and in­ter­ac­tions that are neg­a­tive, harm­ful, thought­less, un­kind or tar­geted.

While a fo­cus on bul­lies and their vic­tims is com­mon, it is im­por­tant that all chil­dren de­velop skills to sup­port them in re­spond­ing to peo­ple and sit­u­a­tions they feel are not pos­i­tive or con­struc­tive.

With these skills, chil­dren and their fam­i­lies are able to en­gage in con­ver­sa­tions to recog­nise and la­bel be­hav­iours for what they are and seek out pos­i­tive so­lu­tions to cre­ate change.

Chil­dren are ex­posed to dif­fer­ent lives and ex­pe­ri­ences, and so see dif­fer­ent stan­dards of in­ter­ac­tion as ac­cept­able. With a pos­i­tive cul­ture, a school is in a po­si­tion to cre­ate stan­dards that fo­cus on in­clu­sion, op­ti­mism and con­sis­tency.

1. En­cour­age Own­er­ship

In de­vel­op­ing own­er­ship skills, chil­dren are bet­ter placed to recog­nise their choices and the im­pact of those choices on them­selves and those around them.

Dis­cussing sit­u­a­tions as they stand and seek­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity from all par­ties, there is the po­ten­tial for chil­dren to ac­cept own­er­ship of their choices and the con­se­quences of these de­ci­sions.

2. Strengths Aware­ness

In build­ing an aware­ness of strengths in chil­dren we can cre­ate a pos­i­tive plat­form for dis­cus­sion of dif­fer­ence, valu­ing the unique gifts and tal­ents each child brings to the school or fam­ily and so the dif­fer­ent ways chil­dren think, talk and de­velop re­la­tion­ships.

Re­spect for in­di­vid­u­al­ity can re­duce the feel­ing of ex­clu­sion and in­forms the school com­mu­nity as a whole.

3. Value Self-con­fi­dence

Of­fer chil­dren the chance to de­velop con­fi­dence in their choices, ac­tions and de­ci­sions by in­clud­ing re­flec­tion in their week.

Sup­port fam­i­lies in hav­ing dis­cus­sions to in­crease con­fi­dence based on ev­i­dence of great friend­ship, in­de­pen­dent de­ci­sion mak­ing, ac­knowl­edg­ing mis­takes, valu­ing oth­ers and them­selves. Jour­nal­ing can be a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity for chil­dren to im­prove these skills.

4. Recog­nise the Power of Lan­guage

Lead by ex­am­ple in recog­nis­ing the power of lan­guage. Of­fer ques­tions that al­low chil­dren to share their ex­pe­ri­ences, iden­tify ar­eas of growth, com­pli­ment oth­ers or un­der­stand the im­pact of their words on oth­ers.

Have a vis­ual list of words or im­ages to sup­port con­sid­ered and thought­ful con­ver­sa­tion and word­play in your school.

5. Es­tab­lish a Pos­i­tive Cul­ture

Cre­ate be­hav­iour stan­dards for those work­ing with chil­dren in your school, and ex­plain the im­por­tance of pos­i­tiv­ity in di­min­ish­ing neg­a­tive ac­tions, such as bul­ly­ing. Al­low all staff the op­por­tu­nity to be true to them­selves and to share sto­ries of grow­ing skills, tak­ing own­er­ship, fail­ing, and learn­ing how to deal with peo­ple with var­ied opin­ions and ideas to their own.

6. Com­mu­nity In­volve­ment

In­clude your com­mu­nity in your plans, lan­guage and ex­pec­ta­tions of be­hav­iour. Share strate­gies par­ents can use at home to re­in­force mes­sages of ac­cept­able be­hav­iours, at­ti­tudes and words with sug­ges­tions of how to prac­tice this out­side of school. Share sit­u­a­tions your school is chal­lenged by for fam­i­lies to dis­cuss at home, not­ing the school’s ex­pec­ta­tion and re­sponse.

7. Be So­lu­tion Fo­cused

En­cour­age fam­i­lies and their chil­dren to solve prob­lems they face with peo­ple, school work and around the play­ground. De­velop crit­i­cal think­ing so that stu­dents con­sider broadly the choices that may be avail­able and the im­pact of those choices on them­selves, oth­ers and the school com­mu­nity.

Praise in­de­pen­dent prob­lem solv­ing and cre­at­ing think tanks for stu­dents to work to­gether to re­solve is­sues within the class­room in a pos­i­tive and proac­tive man­ner.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.turn­ing­point­con­sult­ing.com.au.

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